RICHMOND, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — On Wednesday, thousands of pro-lifers gathered in the Virginia capitol for the state’s fifth annual March for Life.
Held at the state capitol in Richmond, the event included a rally of various speakers and a march through the streets, led by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
Speakers included Attorney General Jason Miyares, Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Stephanie Adkins, Jeff Caruso, Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation, Erin Getz, Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, Felicia Pricenor, Olivia Gans Turner, and pastor Patrick Wooden, Sr., of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ.
Individuals, families, and groups from schools and churches flocked the grounds at the state capitol, making up roughly 5,000 participants.
“It is amazing to be here,” Miyares said in his address. “I want to, first of all, thank all the students. You truly are the pro-life generation, so thank you for being here. I want to thank all the crisis pregnancy centers that have been attacked, both verbally and sometimes physically. Thank you for what you do.”
He continued, “You know you live in a remarkable time when you have a United States senator, Elizabeth Warren, who said we should literally shut down every crisis pregnancy center in this country. And I guess my message for her is, if you try and do that in Virginia, I’ll see you in court.”
The attorney general went on to share how his cousin had called him years ago when she was “pregnant and scared” as a young, unmarried woman. Despite pressure to abort her baby, Louisa chose life and gave her son, Nathan, up for adoption. Miyares shared that he met Nathan at his cousin’s funeral years later and had him standing with him when he was sworn into office “to remind me of the incredible choice” Louisa had made.
In a Twitter post following the event, Miyares expressed his gratitude for having been a part of the state march and declared that “life is beautiful.”
It was an honor to speak at the Virginia March for Life today in Richmond and to highlight the compassionate work of Pregnancy Center charities in the face of adversary. #VAMarchForLife
Life is Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/HFACYY9NFu
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) February 1, 2023
Stephanie Adkins, who works with the 40 Days for Life apostolate, shared her testimony about having obtained an abortion when she was 17-years-old and how that decision is one which “I regret every day.”
Seeking help from her school guidance counselor rather than share her guilt and shame with her parents, Adkins was directed to an abortion facility in a different state, due to laws which required her to be 18 years old or have parental consent to have an abortion in her home state. School officials provided her with information and school funds to be able to travel and kill her unborn baby.
“If I had known then what I know now, I would have made a different decision,” she said.
After experiencing severe depression and struggling to move on from the tragedy, Adkins explained how she finally found healing through faith in God. Although “we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” she encouraged women mourning the loss of their aborted babies that Jesus can heal them as He healed her.
As the event’s final speaker, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, told Virginians gathered that “our work is only just beginning.” He encouraged participants to keep fighting until “every child is safe in Virginia and across the nation.”
Following the rally, the pro-lifers congregated to march throughout the streets of Richmond. A group of students from St. Paul VI Catholic High School stirred up excitement among the crowds with energetic percussion music at the beginning of the march route. Participants cheered as Gov. Youngkin joined them, greeting his fellow pro-lifers and encouraging them to “keep praying.”
“Today, I had the honor to attend the Virginia March for Life,” he posted after the event. “Virginians elected a pro-life governor and I’m committed to standing up for the rights of the unborn. Virginians want fewer abortions, not more.”
Today, I had the honor to attend the Virginia March for Life. Virginians elected a pro-life governor and I’m committed to standing up for the rights of the unborn. Virginians want fewer abortions, not more. https://t.co/nDFvmLPfQx pic.twitter.com/qMGAn2SM4e
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) February 1, 2023
Since taking office last January, Youngkin has repeatedly expressed his beliefs in the sanctity of life in the womb and supported legislation to ensure the protection of unborn Virginians.
In April 2022, the Republican made history for being the first governor to attend an official statewide March for Life. His participation on Wednesday made him the first to do so multiple times. Following the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, which saw radical pro-abortion amendments approved in three states, Youngkin announced that he was “cautiously optimistic” about passing a 15-week abortion ban in Virginia.
Last month, the governor endorsed proposed legislation which would change the state’s current law allowing abortion on demand until roughly 26 weeks to prohibit killing the unborn after 15 weeks’ gestation. If the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is passed, it would classify abortion and intentionally causing a miscarriage as a felony. Exceptions would be in place for legal abortion if the mother’s life was in danger or in cases of rape. Threats to the mother’s major bodily functions, excluding mental or emotional states, would also qualify as cases which allow legal abortion.
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